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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — September 2009

The September Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that public support for health reform ended its summer slide, reversed course and moved modestly upwards in September. The survey also finds initial majority support for taxing expensive health plans and imposing fees on insurers to pay for reform.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans now believe that tackling health care reform is more important than ever—up from 53 percent in August. The proportion of Americans who think their families would be better off if health reform passes is up six percentage points (42% versus 36% in August), and the percentage who think that the country would be better off is up eight points (to 53% from 45% in August).

Substantial majorities of Americans continue to say they back individual reform components designed to expand coverage, including an individual mandate (68%), an employer mandate (67%) and an expansion of state programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (82%).

When it comes to paying for reform, two ideas now under discussion among policymakers garner initial majority support. Fifty-seven percent of the public say they would support “having health insurance companies pay a fee based on how much business they have” and 59 percent would support “having health insurance companies pay a tax for offering very expensive policies.” In both cases, Republicans are evenly divided while Democrats and political independents tilt in favor.

The September poll, the sixth in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion survey research team, examines voters’ specific health care issue interests and experiences and perceptions about health care reform.

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Key Findings

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Summary of Recent Results of Public Opinion on Medicare Expansion (.pdf)

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